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Cocoa genetics

I received a message enquiring what cocoa varieties we supplied.

Here is my response:


By varieties do you mean genetics? Cocoa genetics is much more complicated than what is on instagram or facebook – ie the outdated view of the three varieties of criollo, trinitario and forastero.
Juan Motamayor identified more than 10 genetic clusters in a 2008 paper and more have been identified since.
The team at To’ak have published probably the best summary of this research that I have seen.
We have had genetic testing undertaken by ACIAR and USDA of a number of samples across Makira and while Amelonado is the majority genetic variety in most samples, many of the other genetic clusters have been identified at varying levels of percentages including Parinari, Nacional and Criollo, as well as an unclassified type.
Even if farms are of a specific variety, they need to be separated from other cocoa by about 100m to avoid cross pollination from other varieties. Even a specific seed within a pod may be different to the other seeds in the same pod due to this cross pollination.

There is far too much false marketing in the chocolate world around specific varieties. Probably only a handful of farms/suppliers around the world can truthfully claim that their supply is 100% genetically accurate.

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